Lionel Messi, possibly the greatest footballer not just of our generation but of all time, has reportedly told Barcelona that he wishes to leave the club. This was reported by CNN, who claims to have a source close to the footballer. The story has been widely covered by other media outlets and on social media.
Messi apparently has a clause in his Barcelona contract, that allows him to leave on a free transfer at the end of each season. The reports suggest that Messi will be making use of that clause. The Argentine has been at Barcelona since 2000 and has won every award imaginable — both individual and team.
Rumors of Messi’s departure first popped up following his side’s 8-2 loss at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final. Barcelona’s season has been disappointing, losing out on the league title to Real Madrid and not progressing to at least the semi-final of the Champions League. The club’s board has also come under fire recently for infighting and its transfer policy.
Only a handful of clubs are expected to be able to afford the 33-year old’s insane wages, which are believed to be in excess of €600,000 per week. Manchester City — with Pep Guardiola — and Paris Saint-Germain are believed to be the frontrunners for Messi’s signature, should he be allowed to leave Barcelona. It’s not clear whether Barcelona will stand in his way or not, should he really choose to leave.
Predictably, social media was ablaze with reactions to the news. Check out some of the best below.